In news set to rock the London retail world to its already shaky foundations, the huge now-empty Topshop right on Oxford Circus has been bought by flatpack Swedish light-industrial estate icons IKEA. It’s reported that the boys in blue and yellow bid nearly £400m to acquire the premises (which include a former Nike Town and an ex-Vans store) from Philip Green’s kaput Arcadia Group.
Reaction in the Time Out office to the news ranged from Nikki’s ‘That’s really weird’ to Anne’s ‘I don’t know how I feel about that’ to Esther’s ‘I don’t think there should be meatballs near that many people’. I mean, it is pretty bizarre to think of the quintessentially ring-road experience that is the trip to IKEA suddenly being recreated in the middle of London’s most famous shopping street. Fair enough, there was an IKEA on nearby Tottenham Court Road, which closed in July this year, but it was just a showroom (or so-called ‘planning studio’) and it was on a street that already has several big-name homeware brands (Habitat, Heal’s). Oxford Street, home of dodgy perfume auctions, weird US sweetshops and about 400 McDonald’s is a very different kettle of herring.
Now we’ve got some more details on what to expect when the Swedish furniture giant moves into W1C. The doors won’t open until autumn 2023, but when they do they’ll usher you into browse through around 5,000 products. It won’t all just be flatpack furniture that will make you the most hated person on the Tube should you try and catch the train home – about 2,200 of those items will be furnishings, accessories and things that are easily transportable.
For the bigger bits, the store will be offering a home delivery service so you don’t have to worry about how you’re gonna get that chic new set of shelves onto the Central Line.
As well as the regular store and an in-house design team to help you with all your interior planning, there’ll also be a restaurant on site. No IKEA visit would be complete without a plate of its famous meatballs and now it’s even easier to treat yourself to everyone’s fave IKEA dish. If you’re somehow not on the meatball bandwagon, there will also be other food on offer.
At 239,000 square feet, the new shop will be smaller than some of IKEA’s other branches, but its UK and Ireland retail manager Peter Jelkeby said its ‘physical stores – large and small – will always be an essential part of the IKEA experience’.
More details and updates here.
Or why not have some meat at the capital’s finest steak places?